Neem Begun is a Bengali delicacy where tender neem leaves are cooked along with eggplants and relished with hot steamed rice and butter. Ghee can also be substituted. This dish or any bitter preparation is had at the beginning of any meal in order to cleanse the system. The tender leaves are generally used as they are less bitter, but I do not mind having the older ones too as it happens to be my favourite. Please find below a step by step guide with pictures to prepare it.
- 2-3 long eggplants, diced
- handful of neem leaves, washed & drained
- 2 tbsp. mustard oil
- 1 tsp. kalonji (nigella seeds)
- 1-2 dry red chilies, broken
- salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1-2 fresh chilies (opt)
Heat oil in a pan and temper with dry red chilies and kalonji. Saute for a few seconds. Add the eggplants and fry for 2 minutes.
Add the neem leaves, salt and turmeric powder. Continue to fry on a medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the eggplants turns soft. Serve with plain steamed rice and butter / ghee.
Heat oil in a pan and temper with kalonji and dry red chilies.
Then add the eggplants and saute for 2 minutes before adding
the neem leaves.
Add salt and turmeric powder.
Fry on a low to medium flame till the eggplants turns soft.
Serve along with hot steamed rice, butter and fresh chilies.